My challenge for 2013. What’s yours?

What’s the point of 2013?  It’s the year AFTER the London Olympics.  It’s the year BEFORE the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire.  It’s a year without focus or excitement.

So, having accepted that 2013 will be sad and meaningless, we need to create our own individual methods for getting through what will seem like an endless 365 days.  There’s no LOCOG any more to do this for us.

My advice is to set yourself a January challenge.  With luck, it’ll take you beyond January and into the latter stages of February.  Then we can regroup and think how we’ll get through the rest of the year.

My January challenge is to collaborate on writing a chapter of a book about teaching with team projects in Higher Education.  It’s being edited by Dr Janice Whatley from the Salford Business School at the University of Salford.  My contribution will be a tiny part of the overall book but it’s still a challenge.  I’m very new to academia and the demands of academic writing.  I’m hoping to learn lots from the people I’m working with on this chapter.

Our chapter will explore a session we participated in during the PGCAP (Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice) Core Module in the Sep 2012 semester.  We formed action learning sets which worked together to “flip the classroom” as we explored different learning theories.  Each action learning set was asked to investigate a particular learning theory (in my case – experiential learning).  Our challenge was to check the relevant Wikipedia entry for inaccuracies and gaps and add our findings to the specific page.  We did that pre-session.  Then the whole class came together and mind-mapped our learning theories to present to the rest of the group.  Q & As followed as we challenged and sought relevance for each of the learning theories.

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I found editing wikipedia really exciting! Could I really delete something without the whole internet collapsing?

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I was then hoping to go to a Manchester Girl Geek wikipedia edit day to learn more about writing and researching for wikipedia because women are under represented – but other work stuff got in the way.  Can we have another one please?

But back to the book chapter.  I’ve not done collaborative writing before and I’m intrigued to see how it works.  I’m used to “owning” what I write and then letting a second pair of eyes see the finished project and make what adjustments they see fit.  Collaborating on a google doc is a very different process.  Will it make me more self-conscious about what I write?  Will I be intimidated by the quality of my colleagues’ work?  How will I feel when somebody re-writes my work?  Will I ever dare to re-write my colleagues’ work beyond simple proof-reading?

So far, I’ve volunteered to look at some of the literature on using technologies for collaboration and how to make groups work.  I’ll be starting with Laurillard, Wenger, Conole and Jenny Moon.

My main challenge is how to get any meaningful work done whilst my daughters are off school…..